WOMEN ARE UNDERREPRESENTED IN HIV RESEARCH

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In a recent report by the New York Times, just over half of the documented HIV patients are women. However, most of the research subjects are men.

Why this matters: “If we’re going to find a cure, it’s important that we find a cure that actually works for everybody,” Rowena Johnston, AMFAR’s director of research, told the NYT.

  • Men and women respond differently to HIV, but an AMFAR analysis found that women make up a median of only 11% of the participants in clinical trials for potential cures.
  • The epidemic was concentrated among gay men early on, and these men enrolled in clinical trials to gain access to new drugs. They also created support networks, whereas women with the disease may be more isolated.
  • Women may also face extra scrutiny from the FDA, which has rules around the inclusion of women of childbearing age in clinical trials.